Urban Actions

After viewing the "Streets belong to all of us!" exhibition organized by the Paris-based IVM at the Faculty of Architecture at University of Toronto, I was mostly struck by a single image. Denis Darzacq's photographs feature agile figures in mid-leap, or mid-fall, or even mid-flight. The space between this figure and their urban context even more charged by the fact that they are not in contact with it in any way. Levitating above the hardscape, each figure remains poised for a graceful fall. The ground appears all the more hard with the suggestion of impact.

In a similar manner but with context erased Robert Longo's Men in the Cities series documents well-dressed figures in a contorted elegiac position, caught mid-dance or mid-reflex of some kind, ties a-flailing.

The series reminds me of Bernard Tschumi's 1978 advertisement for Architecture, which featured a figure in mid-fall with architecture its background. This was the site of a murder. Architecture was its first witness. Tschumi writes that "Architecture is defined as much by the actions it witnesses as much as by the enclosure of its walls."

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